The Government is ‘under an obligation to assume responsibility’ for victims of the Equitable Life debacle and should set up a compensation scheme for affected policyholders, according to a draft report unveiled at the European Parliament committee of inquiry on 11 April 2007. The draft report also argues that EU law and policymaking must be overhauled to prevent a repeat of the Equitable Life situation arising in the future. Whilst the committee cannot force the payment of compensation, it ‘strongly recommends’ that the Government considers doing so.

The European Parliament inquiry was set up in January 2006 in response to two petitions received from policyholders who had been adversely affected by the financial collapse at the Equitable Life Assurance Society, which also inflicted losses on over one million people, including residents in Ireland and Germany.

The report still has to be put to a vote of the full committee on 8 May, and it is expected to be subsequently approved by full Parliament in June. For more information, visit the inquiry website at www.europarl.europa.eu/comparl/tempcom/equi/default_en.htm.